SW Chief Funding Request Tabled

Commissioners of Bent County Colorado had tabled for now consideration of a request from La Junta City Manager Rick Klein for a matching funding commitment needed to land a federal grant to continue rebuilding the route of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

Klein told the commissioners that the grant is needed to finish rebuilding the route, a process that began in 2011 when Amtrak threatened to remove the train from its current route through western Kansas, southeast Colorado and northern New Mexico after BNSF said it would not longer maintain the tracks to passenger train speeds.

Local government interests supporting the route rebuilding have won federal grants in recent years that have gone toward track rehabilitation.

Klein said Amtrak has informed the Southwest Chief and Front Range Rail Commission that the numbers for a through-train from La Junta to Pueblo, Colorado, are feasible.

“We are hoping to have a ballot question for Front Range rail from Cheyenne to Trinidad in 2020,” he said.

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